Government of Canada celebrates successful outcomes at the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas meeting 

News release

December 16, 2022                              

Ottawa, Ontario - Managing fisheries requires a robust, science-based approach to regenerate, grow, and conserve Canadian and global fish populations for future generations. The Government of Canada works with domestic and international partners to manage fish stocks in a sustainable way that supports biodiversity and economic prosperity.

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) met in Vale do Lobo, Portugal, from November 14 to 21, 2022, its first in-person year-end meeting in three years. The Canadian delegation comprised representatives from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Global Affairs Canada, domestic stakeholders and Indigenous partners.

At the meeting Canada:

  • Played a leading role in the development and adoption of a new management procedure for Atlantic Bluefin tuna. This management procedure will set sustainable, science-based total allowable catches for both the Western and Eastern Atlantic areas in the coming years.
  • Kept the total allowable catch for North Atlantic Swordfish in 2023 at 13,200 tonnes, with Canada’s quota remaining at 1348 tonnes. This has positive economic value for fishers in Eastern Canada.
  • Championed a proposal for a Joint Inspection Scheme to promote compliance with ICCAT management measures on the high seas. While the proposal did not receive the full support it needed to pass, it received widespread endorsement and constructive input from many ICCAT members, and has the potential to be adopted next year after further negotiation in the coming year.
  • Contributed to the development and adoption of a measure to conserve South Atlantic Shortfin Mako sharks. This continues the work of last year when Canada proposed, and ICCAT adopted, a measure to conserve North Atlantic Shortfin Mako sharks, and will help protect this species from overfishing throughout the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Co-sponsored a Resolution on Climate Change introduced by the United States which calls for ICCAT to convene a virtual experts meeting in 2023 to look at climate impacts and climate action for all ICCAT species and ecosystems, as well as steps that can be taken within the ICCAT organization to improve its sustainability and reduce its carbon footprint.
  • Co-sponsored a successful proposal introduced by the European Union to strengthen the existing rules against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. ICCAT members will now need to take appropriate action against their citizens who engage in, support, or benefit from IUU fishing and fishing-related activities.

The Government of Canada, together with domestic and international partners, continues to provide a robust, science-based approach for managing our fisheries, so we can continue to conserve, grow and regenerate Canadian and global fish populations for future generations.


“I am really proud of the role Canada played at this year’s meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna.  Canada advocated our position strongly, and took an international collaboration and science-based approach to ensure the sustainability of tuna species for years to come.”

The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick facts

  • The Atlantic Bluefin tuna fishery is worth approximately 10 million dollars annually.

  • The Canadian quota of Western Atlantic Bluefin tuna in 2022 was 559 tonnes, and under the new management procedure, will be held steady for 2023, 2024 and 2025.

  • Atlantic Bluefin tuna is a highly-migratory species and has been tracked from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea.

  • The North Atlantic Swordfish fishery is worth approximately 13 million dollars annually.

  • ICCAT is on track to develop and adopt a management procedure for North Atlantic Swordfish in 2023 that will set the stage for longer term management in 2024 and beyond.

  • IUU fishing is a major cause of declining fish stocks and marine ecosystem destruction around the globe, and this is one more step the Government of Canada is taking to combat it.

  • According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in 2008 IUU fishing represented up to 26 million tonnes of all species of fish caught annually, valued at between USD 10 to 23 billion.

Associated links


Kevin Lemkay
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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